NSA whistleblower and genuine American hero Edward Snowden has been vindicated.
I’ve been patiently waiting for this to happen and now it has.
This week a Federal District Judge ruled that the National Security Agency's Orwellian style metadata surveillance program that collects millions of Americans' telephone records is probably unconstitutional because it violates the Fourth Amendment.
U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon issued a preliminary injunction against the program but suspended the order to allow an appeal by the Justice Department. NSA’s spying tactics are unlawful, he found, but he’ll leave the ultimate decision on that point to the Appellate Courts.
"The court concludes that plaintiffs have standing to challenge the constitutionality of the government's bulk collection and querying of phone record metadata, that they have demonstrated a substantial likelihood of success on the merits of their Fourth Amendment claim (of unlawful search and seizure), and that they will suffer irreparable harm absent…relief,'' Leon wrote.
The government: "does not cite a single instance in which analysis of the NSA's bulk metadata collection actually stopped an imminent attack,'' he concluded.” Given the limited record before me at this point in the litigation — most notably the utter lack of evidence that a terrorist attack has ever been prevented because searching the NSA database was faster than other investigative tactics — I have serious doubts about the efficacy of the metadata collection program as a means of conducting time-sensitive investigations in cases involving imminent threats of terrorism.''
Of course, the powers that be in the government of the United Statists of America will certainly appeal this decision, and the case will likely find its way to the U.S. Supreme Court. But even if the decision is overturned, (which in my humble opinion is likely), Edward Snowden, far from being a traitor as portrayed by the Authority, has been vindicated and will go down in history as a hero and martyr for honorably serving his country.
Leon’s ruling is the first among many to be decided in the near future regarding the legality of several aspects of the NSA’s spying program on American citizens. "Today, a secret program authorized by a secret court was, when exposed to the light of day, found to violate Americans' rights. It is the first of many," said Snowden in a statement responding to the court decision.
National security considerations do not trump the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution. Snowden knew that when he blew the whistle on his NSA bosses in violation of his oath to keep its secrets because he was upholding a higher oath to the Constitution and the people of the United States. That’s why he is not a traitor and that’s why historians will not paint him as a traitor.
Now Snowden has written an "open letter to the people of Brazil" offering to help their government investigate allegations of U.S. spying on their nation. In return for this valuable service he wants only a grant of permanent political asylum in Brazil.
"I've expressed my willingness to assist where it's appropriate and legal, but, unfortunately, the U.S. government has been working hard to limit my ability to do so," says the letter. "Until a country grants me permanent political asylum, the U.S. government will continue to interfere with my ability to speak out… Six months ago, I revealed that the NSA wanted to listen to the whole world. Now, the whole world is listening back, and speaking out, too. And the NSA doesn't like what its hearing."
Edward Snowden has been vindicated and deserves to get his wish.